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ACA enrollees sicker than noncompliant counterparts


People who purchased coverage under the Affordable Care Act say they have worse health than those who bought individual plans outside of exchanges or still hold plans that don't comply with the law, according to a new survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The telephone survey, which questioned 742 people from April 3 to May 11, found 57 percent of new ACA plan members had been uninsured right before they obtained coverage. A majority also lacked coverage for at least two years.

The results showed only 29 percent of those enrolled in ACA plans ranked their health as "very good," compared to 37 percent who purchased noncompliant plans. Seventeen-percent of those in compliant plans viewed their health as either "only fair" or "poor," compared to less than 7 percent in noncompliant plans.

Moreover, 34 percent of all nongroup enrollees said they benefited from the ACA, while 45 percent of ACA-compliant enrollees said they benefited. For those who switched from a noncompliant to a compliant nongroup plan, 47 percent said they felt negatively affected while 41 percent said they benefited from the ACA.

While respondents largely considered their plan a good value, many found it difficult to afford premiums. For nongroup enrollees with ACA-compliant plans, 30 percent said it was "somewhat easy," 29 percent stated it was "somewhat difficult" and 14 percent found it was "very difficult."

Insurers should make the health status of consumers a key factor in setting premium rates, notes KFF. Many insurers like WellPoint and Aetna are still collecting information about their new members, reports Reuters.  

Rates also can differ depending on region, state and insurer. For example, regions with a larger population of older, sicker consumers will see bigger hikes, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

For more:
- here are the KFF results
- read the Reuters article

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